Canada imposes sanctions on Haitian officials as lawmakers say gangs are sparking ‘civil war’

Canada has imposed sanctions on two high-ranking Haitian officials for allegedly supporting gangs.

“Haitians are feeling more and more deprived of their essentials, more and more exposed to violence and abandoned,” said Patrick Auguste, director of the Diaspora Youth Association, at a House subcommittee meeting on Friday. I was.

Haiti faces an unruly series of crises that have forced hospitals and schools to close during a deadly cholera outbreak and widespread blackouts.

Things have been made worse by gangs blocking the country’s main fuel terminals, despite not holding elections since 2016, leading the government to call for foreign military intervention.

On Friday, Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie announced sanctions in line with the United States against two senior Haitian officials suspected of funding gangs in the country.

The new sanctions include Haitian Senate Speaker Joseph Lambert and his predecessor Yuri Latourte, who accuses Ottawa of giving “illegal financial and operational support to armed gangs.”

The U.S. Treasury Department more specifically condemned both major cocaine trafficking out of Colombia and directing people to engage in violence.

At the House subcommittee on international human rights, non-governmental organizations told lawmakers on Friday that gangs were paying desperate Haitians to stage protests and causing chaos in the streets.

“There are now more than 100,000 internally displaced people in Haiti due to what can only be described as civil war,” said Morgan Wienberg, president of Little Footprint Big Steps.

Wienberg said Haiti is unable to keep “illegal orphanages” under control, so “foreign pedophiles” are sexually abusing children.

She encouraged Canada to work with civil society groups to stem the problem that gangs are leading to the recruitment of children.

“The Haitian government cannot be the voice that foreign governments are listening to because it is so clear that it is not acting in the interests of the Haitian people.

Some testify that Haiti has faced a power vacuum since the end of the Duvalier dictatorship in 1971, leading to zero-sum politics with no consensus on how to govern the country.

Chalmers Larose, a lecturer in political science at the University of Quebec in Montreal and the Royal Military College of Canada, said some of the turmoil stemmed from foreign whims.

Larose said Haiti was economically punished by France for its declaration of independence in 1805 and subsequent American invasion in 1915.

“For at least a century it was a country completely exiled from the world,” he said in French.

He was skeptical of recent comments by US officials that Canada could become a major player in a military intervention.

“Canada must also find its own voice in this crisis and not just try to be the bottom of the US,” said LaRose.

Other witnesses suggested using drones to fire on gangsters and coming up with aid packages modeled after the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild post-war Europe.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada must help Haiti in some way, even if it doesn’t mean military intervention.

“We are looking at crises, rape, violence, poverty, cholera and health crises. told reporters.

That evening, he was briefed by former National Security Advisor Daniel Jean, who led the four-day assessment mission last week.

The official statement did not indicate how Prime Minister Trudeau would proceed, but said the cabinet committee “considered a range of options … to support a Haitian-led solution.”

Auguste proposed a public apology from Canada on behalf of all Western nations for centuries of interference in Haiti to help end denunciations between governments, gangs and foreign countries. .

“What’s happening now is that everyone is to blame,” he said.

Dylan Robertson

canadian press